Beatrice Baumer

Senior lecturer for food science and nutrition Institut for Food and beverage Innovation (ILGI), ZHAW

Faculty of Health & Applied Sciences, Health Science Department
Food Microbiology (Course: Food and Meat Hygiene 2A)
Namibia University of Science and Technology

July 16 - August 9, 2019


Cooperation with university staff

The Human Nutrition programme started in 2018, with few resources and currently only three members of staff (the programme director, a lecturer and a laboratory technician/assistant), so my know-how in implementing the two courses, in particular the laboratory practicals, was highly appreciated. For the practicals we had to rely on existing infrastructure, mainly belonging to other programmes, so coordination with other laboratories was ultimately the only way to achieve our goal. The laboratory technician was able to organize and coordinate use of laboratories and equipment from 5 other groups, the NUST personnel was always very helpful and flexible. I am very thankful for the immense effort of the assistant, and for the cooperation of all the other laboratory technicians, without them it would have been impossible to carry out the practicals.

For all other NUST colleagues: I can just say thank you, it is always a challenge to make time slots free in the timetable, whenever B360 experts are in the house.

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Cooperation with students

I was lucky to have the same class as last year, so we already knew each other, and the atmosphere was relaxed from the beginning, with students not hesitating to ask questions. The challenge I had was to make them integrate their more general knowledge, as learnt in prior courses, with the new contents of these courses. Giving them extra exercises helped them understand the importance of some calculations and statistics. Due to the intense schedule, we had practicals nearly every day, keeping up with lab notes and reporting was a challenge for the students, but part of the learning curve.

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Impact and win-win

Being involved in the Human Nutrition program from the beginning means I am having a large impact on the way the courses can be implemented and be adapted to the available NUST resources. I am aware of the responsibility associated with this and the need to involve the NUST staff. Balancing my expertise with a participatory approach is the only way forward towards a lasting impact. I hope I have achieved this in particular by involving the laboratory technician as far as I could.

My win-win was actually going back to the roots of food analysis, many methods are based on rather simple principles, which are not always obvious when using streamlined and automated apparatuses. From a personal point of view the warmth and gratefulness of the students makes this experience unique.

Memorable event

I was lucky enough to be at NUST during the cultural festival, with the opportunity to see performances by different cultural groups, and to try (and sometimes enjoy) unfamiliar food during the international cuisine day (e.g. the chewy Oshiwambo chicken feet and the black-eyed bean based Oshingali).

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My expectancies were more than fulfilled, I achieved more than I imagined.

Personal message

My personal message to the students are to work hard, and be aware of the links between the various courses, nutrition science is an applied sciences, relying on a broad knowledge . My message to B360 is to continue the good work, it would be great to provide one or two internship opportunities to the nutrition students in two years time.